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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Have we become a Sissy Nation?

Book Description
Praised by The New York Times Book Review for being “persuasive [and] provocative,” John Strausbaugh reveals in furious, funny, and ferocious strokes how Americans became sissified, soft, and scared—and offers us unforgettable solutions on how to snap out of it. The American Sissy cocoons in a safe, virtual world— Fundadome. He plays with online friendsters and he plays with himself, anything to abate the growing anxiety about everything from terrorists to sex and spinach, air and water. He votes for sissy leaders, who lash out at the world like bullies—sissies in tough-guy drag. He’s so afraid of death and illness he doesn’t really live; he medicates and analyzes. And he’s so busy following the lives of the rich and famous that he has no time to have a rich and fulfilled life of his own. “I don’t mean sissy as girly man versus manly man,” Strausbaugh says. “This is not about big biceps. It’s about shrinking balls. And unless we stop acting like such sissies, soon enough some lean, angry barbarians from somewhere out Beyond Fundadome are going to overrun us, ramming their bayonets in our fat guts like fingers poking the Pillsbury Doughboy, and we won’t be giggling.”

Chismillionaire's Pen Review

For some a pen is a simple writing tool, for others it is a fashion statement and status symbol. There are many “nice pens” but few rival these beautiful works of art. This is a list of amazingly stylish pens meant to be shown of and almost never upstaged.

The Space Pen

Although this is an urban legend, you can decide for yourself the truth of the matter. Legend has it that during the 60’s NASA spend millions developing a zero-gravity pen that could write in space.

Mystery Masterpiece

Priced at $730,000 this beauty was released by Mont Blanc and Van Cleef-Arpels as a celebration of each one’s 100th anniversary. Truly a celebration of artistry, this pen has over 840 diamonds.

La Modernista Diamonds

20 Carats of VS quality diamonds make this pen masterpiece. Created in honor of famed architect Antoni Gaudi this pen pays homage to his work. Priced at $265,000 only the Mystery Masterpiece rivals it.

Visconti Ripple H.R.H

18K white gold and diamonds with a double reservoir filling system. This pen made by high end pen company Visconti, is stylish with a much lower price tag than the previous two, at a mere $57,000.

Omas Gaia

Meaning trip to the center of the earth, is a dream made real. Crafted of white and yellow gold, Onyx, Hematite, Emerald, and Diamond it is truly a masterpiece. It’s cost is around $37,000.

Tibaldi DaVinci Code Rollerball

This special edition pen was made in honor of the movie The DaVinci code, exquisitely crafter out of rose gold, this pen costs around $34,000

Grayson Tighe Victorian Royalty

Ornately crafted out of 18K gold to represent the era, this pen by Grayson Tighe certainly lives up to its name. Thus limited edition pen costs around $24,000.

Dragon Jules Gold LE

This Dragon pen is a beautiful representation of the under the sea theme. Its handle is made of gold and reaches upward over the deep blue top. Price is about $18,000.

Omas Pushkin Fountain Pen

You can buy this beauty for around $14,000. The pen is as romantic as the man it was inspired by, Russian romance author Alexsander Pushkin.

La Dona Menagerie

Cartier has outdone itself with this one, La Dona Menagerie is like a piece of art in your hand. Priced at $4,000 you will truly stand out with a pen made by classic Cartier.

One of These Days - Pink Floyd - live at Pompeii

The drumming is great!!


Saab COncept Vehicles: click here

Freckles, forgot to wear something yesterday

can see more here

Pontiac G8 - Spy Hunter (Advert)

Demi Moore's Beauty Secret: Austrian Leeches Suck My Blood

Demi Moore sat down with David Letterman Monday night to promote her new movie "Flawless." Moore was looking pretty flawless herself, and dished to Dave about her new beauty treatment. She returned one week ago from a trip to Austria, where she had her blood sucked by leeches. The "leech therapy," as she told Dave, was to detoxify her blood.

"I feel like I've always been someone looking for the cutting edge of things that optimize your health and healing," she told Dave. "I was in Austria doing a cleanse and part of the treatment was leech therapy."

Demi describes how four leeches got drunk on her blood, starting from her bellybutton, and how they don't like hair and prefer waxed or shaved skin. She plans to go back for more.

Click Here for Video:

13 Year-Old Girl Busted For Luring Other Teens to Sell Sex

The arrest of a 13-year-old girl who allegedly lured other teens to dance and perform sexual acts for money at a Dallas nightclub has focused a spotlight on the widespread problem of teen prostitution and the challenge it presents law enforcement.

read more | digg story

Concrete that clears the air

Venice hardly counts among the most-polluted places in the world. There are no cars traveling its narrow streets, and all traffic is either by foot or by boat. So despite the crowded walkways and canals, the air in Venice is far cleaner than that of, say, Milan, Italy's economic capital, which recent figures indicate has some of the worst air quality in Europe.

Even so, visitors to the Italian Pavilion of the architecture exhibition in the Venice Biennale, which will remain open until Nov. 19, will get a breath of fresh air. That's because parts of the concrete walls and grounds have been built with cement containing an active agent that, in presence of light, breaks air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, benzene, and others through a natural chemical process called photocatalysis.

The demonstration is a reminder that smart innovation applies also to mundane products and can offer unexpected solutions even for complex problems such as air pollution. The technology, called TX Active, has been under development for almost 10 years in the labs of Italcementi, the world's fifth-biggest cement producer, and is starting to be applied commercially to buildings and streets in Italy, France, Belgium, and elsewhere.

Painting the Town

The results so far are astonishing: A street in the town of Segrate, near Milan, with an average traffic of 1,000 cars per hour, has been repaved with the compound, "and we have measured a reduction in nitric oxides of around 60%," says Italcementi's spokesperson Alberto Ghisalberti. In a test over an 8,000 square meter (or approximately 2 acres) industrial area paved with active blocks near Bergamo, Italcementi's hometown, the reduction was measured at 45%.

In large cities such as Milan, with persistent pollution problems caused by car emissions, smoke from heating systems, and industrial activities, both the company and outside experts estimate that covering 15% of all visible urban surfaces (painting the walls, repaving the roads) with products containing TX Active could abate pollution by up to 50%, depending on the specific atmospheric conditions.

Of course, this approach isn't meant to replace efforts to curb pollution, but it can significantly magnify their effects. Here's how it works: The active principle—basically a blend of titanium dioxide that acts as photocatalyzer—can be incorporated in cement, mortar, paints, and plaster.

The Big Bite

In the presence of natural or artificial light (this applies also indoors) the photocatalyzer significantly speeds up the natural oxidation processes that cause the decomposition of pollutants, transforming them into less harmful compounds such as water, nitrates, or carbon dioxide.

"These aren't necessarily 'clean', but from an environmental standpoint they're much more tolerable," says Rossano Amadelli of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), the scientists who led the laboratory testing of the TX Active materials.

The patented pollution-reduction technology—which in Italy is becoming known as "cemento mangiasmog" or "smog-eating cement"—comes at a premium, of course, but the extra cost is limited by the fact that the active principle only needs to be used on the surface.

Keeping It Clean

"To transform the facade of a five-story building into a photocatalytic surface would add only 100 or so euros ($120) to the cost of a traditional paint or plaster," Ghisalberti estimates. Paving a street or a sidewalk is a different story, but still not extreme: Photocatalytic blocks cost about one-third more than usual paving, which is still far less than the long-term cost of doing nothing about air pollution.

It turns out that the photocatalyzing cement has another advantage, one that has great appeal to star architects such as Richard Meier. TX Active not only hastens the decomposition of organic and inorganic pollutants, it also prevents their build-up on surfaces, helping to preserve a building's pristine appearance over time.

The spectacular design of Meier's Dives in Misericordia Church in Rome, includes three concrete self-bearing white sails, topping out at 26 meters. One of Meier's material requirements was that the whiteness of the sails be durable. That has been achieved through the application of the active principle, which basically "self-cleans" the surfaces.

The same system has been applied to the new Air France headquarters inside the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, a place with high concentrations of hydrocarbons and where, needless to say, a standard white facade would not remain white for long.

Source: Business Week 3/31/2008

World’s Most Haunted Castles

It’s called the Dark Ages for a reason. During medieval times, torture was a common practice. Castles were constructed to do more than simply house those in power; they were designed for imprisonment, torture and execution at the whim of whoever happened to be in power.

read more | digg story

Ferrari F40 vs 599GTB

New Indiana Jones Widget Hits the Web!

How to win friends and influence people with .... your car

Plenty of people buy cars as status symbols to keep up with the neighbors or impress that girl across the street, but what if your car could actually make you friends? According to a new study, the ride you choose can have a big effect on your potential to find new buds.

According to Carcraft, an auto-superstore chain similar to Carmax in the U.S., a growing number of drivers are joining Facebook groups based around what model car they drive. Members share driving experiences, swap tips about repair costs, and share a kinship for their favorite whips. The site has even added an application called "Garage", enabling users to post info on the car they drive in their profiles.

So which car gets you the most friends? Carcraft has ranked the ten models with the largest number of Facebook fans, and the winner is (of course) the Mini Cooper, boasting 310 fan groups with over 23,000 members. Several cars on the list aren't sold here, but of the ones you can buy in the U.S. the Honda Civic ranks second with 187 fan groups, the VW Rabbit comes in fifth with 70, and the Toyota Yaris and Audi A3 round out the list with 30 and 23 groups, respectively. Given how the company tries to make its owners feel special, the Mini's ranking is no surprise, but how the Yaris gets more fans than the A3 is a puzzler.

In a sense, using your car to make friends on Facebook isn't altogether different from crusing the Sunset Strip on Saturday night. Except now you don't have to waste your money on a car wash or fixing those dents in the bumper.

Source: PR Newswire

Coskata to offer cheap hooch for your vehicle

"Think Green, Drive Yellow!" the ethanol ads cajole, but as we illustrated in last May's Alternative-Fuels treatise ("2020 Foresight"), its lower-energy content means that, unless E85's pump price is 25-30 percent less than gasoline's, you're spending more to get where you're going. To date, neither modern farming techniques nor congressional pork has succeeded in delivering corn-likker at that magic price point. But modern biochemistry appears to have noodled a way to make pure ethanol from cornstalks, wood chips, water bottles, old tires, switchgrass --- any carbon-rich detritus.

At January's North American International Auto Show, GM announced a partnership with biology-based renewable energy firm Coskata Inc., which in turn unveiled plans to open a demonstration facility later this year that will produce 40,000 gallons of pure ethanol at an estimated cost of $1/gallon, using less than a gallon of water per gallon of ethanol --- big breakthroughs both. A 100-million-gallon/year facility is scheduled to be up and running by 2011.

How does Coskata brew its cheap hooch? Like other stalks-'n'-stems-to-alcohol schemes you may have heard of, it enlists specialist microorganisms to do the heavy lifting, but instead of assigning them the task of breaking down starches and complex carbohydrates into a sugary mash for the still, these specialist bugs breathe in carbon-monoxide and hydrogen and sweat out ethanol. The stalks or tires are first heated to 1800-plus degrees F, but not burned. This breaks the compounds down into CO, H2 and other junk removed by a scrubber. This pure syngas (the CO/H2 blend that many towns once used to illuminate their gas streetlamps) then gets pumped into the bioreactor --- a plastic tube full of water and thin tubes made of a Gore-Tex-like material through which the syngas diffuses, feeding the bacteria lining the tubes.

Coskata hasn't tinkered with the bacteria's genetics, rather it's bred these microorganisms like race horses, selecting a master race that produces only ethanol (actually, in nature they produce ethnoic acid, but part of Coskata's patented bioreactor process stops their digestion at ethanol). Other bacterial strains Coskata is breeding produce butanol and propanol. In nature, these elite microbes might have colonized underwater thermal vents or swine-farm lagoons. They're completely safe (anaerobes die in the presence of oxygen), they don't need light, and they reproduce naturally so the bioreactor can run for months without a "clean-out."

A key bioreformer advantage over some catalytic syngas-to-ethanol systems is that the latter produces multiple products from which ethanol must be separated, adding cost. The vaporized low-proof ethanol/water gas then passes through thin tubes made of a special hydrophilic (loves water) coating that grabs the steam, condenses and recycles it, leaving a 99.7-percent-pure stream of ethanol coming out the other end.

A secret to this system's low cost is energy management. Once the super-heating process gets up to temperature, it sustains itself on the energy released breaking all those chemical bonds. That heat must be extracted before the syngas hits the microbes, and it can power electric turbines or serve some other purpose like drying pulp in a paper mill where waste wood materials feed the reactor. Even the ethanol separation tubes require half the energy a typical distillation stack would consume. Per Argonne National Lab's well-to-pump studies, the resulting ethanol contains 7.7 times the energy consumed in its production.

Because practically any carbon-rich feedstock can be used, ethanol plants can be built almost anywhere, creating jobs, reducing the energy wasted in transporting feedstocks and hedging our energy supply against localized natural disasters. It promises 84-percent-lower greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline. And it'll make driving cheaper. I'll drink to that.

-Frank Markus

Tata Motors buys Jaguar & Land Rover for $2.3 Billion

DEARBORN - Ford Motor Company has signed a "definitive agreement" to sell Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors for approximately U.S.$2.3 billion in cash. Ford will contribute up to $600 million to Jaguar Land Rover pension plans and will continue to supply the British brands "for differing periods, powertrains, stampings and other vehicle components, in addition to a variety of technologies, such as environmental and platform technologies." Ford also will supply Tata's new acquisitions with engineering support, including research and development, plus information technology, accounting and other services. Ford says in its announcement of the sale that it will provide financing for Jaguar and Land Rover dealers and customers during a transitional period of up to 12 months, depending on the market. It will support Jaguar and Land Rover product plans, while supporting the two brands' move toward stand-alone capabilities. It's not a bad deal for Ford, which will makes some money selling components to Tata for Jag/LR. Reports say Ford will use the $2.3 billion to improve quality. That kind of cash could also help Ford develop its next-generation rear-wheel-drive platform, whether in the United States or Australia. Ford doesn't anticipate any significant changes to Jaguar and Land Rover employees' terms of employment. So far, it looks like no British factories will be closed in favor of production in India. As I've written in the past, you can call this Gandhi's revenge. It's an ironic twist on the British Empire's running of India. There's little doubt Tata Motors, the company that just unveiled its $2,500 Nano car for its native India, will do as well or better than Ford in running the two storied and troublesome brands. What's more, it gives Tata credibility in Western markets, as it undoubtedly ponders competing with other emerging automakers, especially those from China. "We have enormous respect for the two brands and will endeavor to preserve and build on their heritage and competitiveness, keeping their identities intact," Ratan N. Tata, chairman of Tata Sons and Tata Motors said.

Ford Ka in new Bond film Quantum of Solace

PANAMA CITY, Panama — Online video has surfaced showing the various locales where Quantum of Solace, the latest James Bond film, is being shot. In the montage, we can catch a glimpse of what appears to be the very un-Bond-like Ford Ka doing duty as a chase car.

The Ford brand has had a healthy relationship with James Bond these past few years. He has been supplied with Aston Martins for three consecutive movies (a Vanquish in Die Another Day, a DBS in Casino Royale and a DB5 in bothCasino Royale and the film now in production). That's in addition to a few lower-profile supporting vehicles, such as Halle Berry's Thunderbird and Bond's Mondeo airport rental.

The Ka is most assuredly not going to be as featured as much as the DBS, although you can see at 2m 24s in the video that it does appear to have some significant screen time. (Why else would they have made it up with those cool decals on the side?) And it doesn't appear to be a simple transport shot like the Thunderbird or Mondeo had in previous films, since someone (Bond?) is shown bailing out the side right before the car takes off. Excitement!

See for yourself.

Quantum of Solace is set to be released November 7, starring Daniel Craig and Gemma Arterton.

Tony Hawk Invites Skaters to Take His Loop for a Spin

The Loop Challenge 2008

On March 1, 2008 a handful of skaters attempted what few have done before--sucessfully complete a 360 degree loop on a skateboard.

International Dance Party: Instant Disco in a Box Creates Infinite Party Loop

The International Dance Party looks like an unassuming flight box. But as soon as its radar detects people dancing, its motorized face drops to reveal two speakers running 600 watts of the world's best unfiltered Eurohouse and other assorted Electro Boogie. But really, it's hard to explain how incredible this machine is, unless you watch the video:

There's an LED sign that displays a message in 20 languages: That message is simply "Dance to Start the Party". And the more intense the party gets, the greater the effects, eventually culminating in a light show with disco ball, lasers, siren, ground effects and fog, creating an infinite loop of more fog, more techno, more siren, and therefore more dancing, and then the radar picks it up and then you've got more disco, and then more fog, and then more techno, and then more dance I'm so tired I can't stop partying my legs won't stop feeling the beat. After everyone collapses, the box returns to its docile flight case status.

International Dance Party! The full length video of this crazy and funny party machine! from Niklas Roy on Vimeo.

Futuristic Floor Glows With Each Footstep

By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 25 March 2008 08:26 am ET

A new rug that lights up when you step on it could be the future of floor fashion, not to mention of nocturnal home safety.

As if a glowing runway, the electroluminescent flooring could keep you from stubbing your toe during a groggy trek to the bathroom, guide you to the bedroom after a late-night out and even replace a child's conventional nightlight.

"The glow that the rug emits is very soft," said co-inventor Leona Dean, of London South Bank University, who also noted the innovation's party applications, "It can provide ambient mood lighting or flash in time to music as a talking point at a party."

Dean and another LSBU engineering student Zoe Robson developed the light-up rug, called Footlume, for a college course, and they will exhibit the innovation at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Show in London this month.

The electroluminescent rug uses rechargeable batteries and lights up in response to the weight applied when a person walks across the carpet.

Electroluminescence relies on an electric field to generate visible light. Other light producers include photoluminescence, which is used in many glow-in-the-dark toys; and chemoluminescence, which involves light-producing chemical reactions (as in the body of a firefly).

So-called responsive surfaces such as Footlume are considered by some experts the next big thing in interiors for fashion-savvy and techie homeowners.

The Footlume invention is currently a prototype, but the inventors say it will "attract attention from all the right people" at the Home Show, for future commercialization.

Self Serve Beer Taps

My only questions are in regard to selection - its not clear from this TV news report if every table has every beer or if the selection is varied by table. Other than that, I rate this BRILLIANT!